Sept. 28, 2012 Big, Bold Chinooks The Reward On Sacramento
Written By: Dan Bacher, October 9, 2012
Location: Sacramento River- Middle,
“Salmon fishing is easy – the trick is getting them to bite,” quipped Mike Bogue of Mike Bogue’s Fishing Guide Service as Paul Kneeland, Fish Sniffer Publisher, Cal Kellogg, Fish Sniffer Editor, Danny Lloyd, Fish Sniffer Advertising Representative, and I fished for salmon on the Sacramento River right above Woodson Bridge.
It was a cool, pleasant September morning with the first rays of the sun not yet peaking over the horizon. Bogue pointed to the many large marks of salmon on his graph as evidence of the abundance of salmon in this hole. We could see fish jumping out of the water every few minutes as Bogue slowly worked his 23-foot custom Team North River Scout boat down below the bridge.
We made several drifts above and below the bridge, but we didn’t hook any fish. We were back trolling with sardine-wrapped Flatfish and back bouncing with Pautzke-cured salmon roe. One angler fishing below the bridge hooked and landed a king in the 20 pound class.
“We need to make a decision here – should we leave fish to find fish?” said Bogue. “The bite could turn on here at any time.”
Bogue decided to go downriver, since we hadn’t hooked up any fish, in spite of the big numbers of fish splashing on the surface of the water and schooling on the graph.
“So far the fishing has been decent this year,” said Bogue. “However, the fishing was easier at this time last year. The federal and state governments are predicting over 800,000 fish this season; you got to think they will be right someday.
“The size of the fish is much better – the fish average 15 to 25 pounds - this year,” noted Bogue. “Last year they averaged 8 to 12 pounds.”
Earlier this year, federal biologists estimated the ocean abundance of Sacramento River fall chinook in 2012 at 819,400, far above the number — 122,000 to 180,000 fish — needed for optimum spawning.
After we left the area below the bridge, Bogue drove his boat down the river several miles to a very promising spot, the pipe hole. We were working the T-55 Flatfish, Hognose Flatfish and roe when Bogue hooked up a big salmon.
“Who wants to take this fish?” Bogue asked.
Kellogg grabbed the rod after nobody else volunteered and battled the fish to the edge of the boat, where Bogue netted it. The fish was a bright and shiny male in the 20 lb. range.
About 10 minutes later, I hooked up my first fish of the day. The fish was pulling off a lot of line and Bogue was getting ready with the net when I suddenly felt the fish come loose. I reeled in the line and sat back in my seat.
Kellogg was really “supportive.” “The agony of defeat,” Kellogg said.
I was now really determined to catch my limit of salmon. A few minutes later, I felt a fish knock the plug around a couple of times and then it grabbed it and started to run. I set the hook and the battle was on.
The fish burst off on a long run that made me follow it around the bow to the starboard side. Then the fish reversed direction, pulling off a bunch of line as it tried to shake the hooks.
Finally, I got the king next to the boat. “Reel up to the sinker and lift,” said Bogue. I did that, but then the fish made another run and surged below the boat.
I finally got the fish’s head up. This time Bogue was able to put the fish in the net. The fish was a copper-colored buck weighing 17 pounds.
“You don’t want to keep that fish, do you?” said Bogue.
“I sure do,” and he bonked it over the head and put it in the fish box.
I let my lure back down and within a few minutes hooked yet another salmon, my third hook-up of the day. This fish provided another great fight, though it came in a bit more easily than the mean buck I had just landed. Bogue netted the fish – it turned out to be a beautiful, chrome-bright female weighing over 21 pounds.
We figured the bite was turning on now. We kept going through the hole, but didn’t hook up any more fish, though we saw an angler in another boat land a salmon below us. We all had to get off the river early and after taking some photos, Bogue filleted the three fish.
As he filleted the bright orange meat of the salmon, Bogue noted, “While ocean salmon may be better, there’s nothing wrong with this beautiful meat.”
“Since that day, the fishing has been getting better every day,” Bogue said. “We caught 3 limits of chinooks, ranging from 15 to 25 pounds, by 9:15 a.m. at Balls Ferry today, September 14. Half of the fish were taken on Flatfish and the other half were caught on Pautzke-cured roe.”
Since 1991, Bogue has been a full-time, professional Sacramento River fishing guide in northern California. Mike was born and raised in Redding, boating and fishing on the Sacramento River as well as other northern California rivers and streams his entire life.
Besides salmon trips during the season, Bogue is guides for wild rainbow trout on the Sacramento year round and for shad during the spring run.
The trout fishing has been very good this year. “When the salmon are spawning, I drift Glo Bugs. When they’re not. I back troll little Flatfish in silver gold. The trout average 14 to 20 inches long,” he stated.
According to Mike Bogue’s website (http://www.mikebogue.com) “Mike is now married with two children. Jaret fishes with Mike as much as possible when he is not playing baseball, and is a great partner in the boat. Kara is just getting started and Mike is eager for her to add some lady luck. Laura takes care of the office and without her, Mike would be in big trouble.”
For more information, contact Mike Bogue's Guide Service, 10908 Beaver Road, Oak Run, and CA 96069, 530-246-8457.Back To Reports